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Key tips to avoid overtraining and running out of steam this January

It’s easy to come out of the blocks too quickly and fall at the first hurdle.

You should be full of energy before each session.
You should be full of energy before each session.
Image: Shutterstock/Robert Kneschke

OVERTRAINING IS A term that crops up time and time again. Firstly, are you wondering if it exists? Yes.

Does that mean anyone can overtrain? It’s unlikely. So what is overtraining? And more importantly, how does it happen?

For most gym goers, the chance of reaching this is very slim. Five hours a week in the gym isn’t going to elicit the symptoms associated with overtraining syndrome; from lack of motivation to fatigue, from decreased immune function to even depression.

There are various ways of monitoring the body for these symptoms as overtraining syndrome is not easy to be clinically diagnosed.

By monitoring client/athlete’s responses to training; i.e. physiological and psychological, we can look out for any signs. Again – the risk of this to a gym goer who wants to drop some body fat and feel good is very low.

In a nutshell if you’re training hard and under-recovering consistently then you are in danger of overtraining. It’s a question I like to ask a lot – are you over-trained or under-recovered??

I think it’s beyond the scope of this blog post to go into all the associated areas of overtraining, so if you take anything away from is, remember that the key is recovery. Even if you train twice a week – the quality of your recovery will help you get closer to your goals. What are you doing away from training that is going to benefit you?

The key recommendations to get you recovered and ready for your next session are the same for elite athletes and general gym goers.

Here are some simple but effective measures you can use daily:

1) Sleep

One of the most important key factors in good recovery. Aim for 7-8 hours per night; if quantity is an issue, aim for quality. Throw the phone out the room, make sure the room is cool and relax.

2) Monitor how you feel after training

you should feel refreshed, not groggy or irritable. If you have trained for 7 days consistently then feeling refreshed isn’t going to happen after training.

3) Listen to your body

it has a great way of telling you when something is up. Take note! For example, being a little older hasn’t stopped my training; I have just learnt what I can tolerate better. For me two days training and one days rest leaves me ready to go again. We are all different, but listening to what your body is telling will improve the quality of your training and help you get closer to your goals.

4) Increase frequency, decrease duration

If you feel it’s an absolute must to train 6 days a week then reduce the duration of your workouts – you will still get all your workouts done in the week, you will just be spreading them out and recovering better!

5) Hydration/nutrition

get these on point and everything else will improve, you will recover better and be ready for your next workout.

Andrew Wiseman is a personal trainer with SIX3NINE Personal Training.

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Andrew Wiseman

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